Author Topic: March2012 BookClubDiscussion- Hardy Boys Undercover Brothers #1 Extreme Danger  (Read 2729 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Post your thoughts, comments and reviews on The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers #1 Extreme Danger here.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Well, I thought I'd go ahead and post the thread for anyone wanting to go ahead and dive into things. I will try to post a full review as soon as I can (i.e. sometime this month- lol :D)- but for starters, I will say that I am excited to finally read one of The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers books- and particularly to review the start of the series, which we will ironically be getting into just as the series is coming to an end. But perhaps this will be a good chance to evaluate what the good and bad of this first book and this whole series were and how the new series can be made better and different from this series.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 7308
    • Trevor Thurlow Productions - Video Production and Transfers
I remember that back in 2005 I was impressed with Extreme Danger, even though the first-person didn't give as much dramatic emphasis as the third-person did,  and I was hoping that the series would continue to be as good as Extreme Danger.  Unfortunately just a few books later (#5 Rocky Road) the plots took a turn for the worst, and #6 Burned was the "jumping the shark" book for the series.
VHS, S-VHS, Super Betamax, Mini DV, MicroMV, Betacam SP, U-Matic SP - NTSC/PAL/SECAM.  All transferred to DVD! 
www.trevorthurlowproductions.ca

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
For a 40 book series (46 if you count the '07 Supermysteries series)- "jumping the shark" 6 books in is not a good sign...
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
And we can't forget to note that this book also ushered in a huge change for The Hardy Boys books series by introducing first person narration, with Frank and Joe taking turns telling the story in each chapter.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 7308
    • Trevor Thurlow Productions - Video Production and Transfers
I think I mentioned the first/third-person part.  It'll be interesting to see if S&S continues the new series in th third person.
VHS, S-VHS, Super Betamax, Mini DV, MicroMV, Betacam SP, U-Matic SP - NTSC/PAL/SECAM.  All transferred to DVD! 
www.trevorthurlowproductions.ca

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Yeah, you did actually.....oh well. And I hope they go back to third person narration personally.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 7308
    • Trevor Thurlow Productions - Video Production and Transfers
I also liked how the author included Chet in this book and it just felt so natural, plus the boys didn't have to lie to Chet.  The Hardy's just pulled one of their old Casefiles moves where the let their friend think that they had found the case by themselves, but left the top-secret government agency out of he explanation.
VHS, S-VHS, Super Betamax, Mini DV, MicroMV, Betacam SP, U-Matic SP - NTSC/PAL/SECAM.  All transferred to DVD! 
www.trevorthurlowproductions.ca

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Chet is always a nice inclusion- and yeah, that part is a nice touch.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 7308
    • Trevor Thurlow Productions - Video Production and Transfers
Plus the continuity in the book made it feel like the series was picking up shortly after the Classic series "Motocross Madness".
VHS, S-VHS, Super Betamax, Mini DV, MicroMV, Betacam SP, U-Matic SP - NTSC/PAL/SECAM.  All transferred to DVD! 
www.trevorthurlowproductions.ca

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Ah- that answers a question I was pondering in another thread. Is the Undercover Brothers series supposed to follow the Classic series (#1-190) and then lead to the Casefiles or perhaps do the Casefiles come first? Or do we just leave the Casefiles off in its separate universe? Oh well- that's a question for another thread.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Okay- get this. I finally finished up with two other books I had been reading (The Hardy Boys Ghost Stories by Franklin W. Dixon and Letters to Malcom: Chiefly on Prayer by C.S. Lewis) just recently- so now I have finally fully plunged into The Hardy Boys: Undercover Brothers #1 Extreme Danger. :) 8)
          And I've only read the first chapter so far, but it's okay so far. However, all the things I'd heard about this series, I can already start to see in the first chapter of the first book. Not a good sign for the series.
Okay, the things I do like- the tone is kept fairly light (i.e. Frank and Joe Hardy maintain their good humor and cool even in the midst of danger). The book tries to deliver action. The new characters of Brian and Belinda Conrad get to be a bit annoying from the get-go, but obviously they were meant to be portrayed that way. I can deal with that- Brian reminds me a lot of Flash Thompson from the Spider-Man comics.
        Um, and that's probably the main things I liked thus far. As to the bad, well- I still think the first person narrative gets confusing. I should actually list this partially under the plus side though because I do like it for trying something different and offering a new perspective for The Hardy Boys' cases. It is definitely designed to gravitate toward younger kids (which makes sense since that's the main audience for these books) because it allows kids to really immerse themselves into the world of The Hardy Boys and imagine themselves as one of the Hardys, since they're reading everything as "I did such and such" or "I said such and such" and thus, by the construct of the language, they're kinda forced to put themselves into the persona of the narrator. (Which is why it's a bit weird for opposite genders to read such books. Though I guess it's good in some ways for boys and girls and men and women to be able to look to the underlying things that unite all of us as human beings beyond our sexual differences.)
        Anyway, while I know Frank and Joe have gone after other kinds of pirates before (usually music pirates, and sometimes actual pirates ala The Secret of Pirates' Hill - okay, I can't remember if actual pirates show up in this book or not- I just wanted to invoke the title. I'm sure Frank and Joe have tackled some sort of seafaring pirates at some point in their cases regardless- lol. ;D) -but anyway, a DVD pirate who tried to kill them by shoving them out of an airplane with broken parachute chords just seemed WAY over the top. Now I realize that the author is trying to amp up the action level, especially given the whole secret agent thing (which A.T.A.C. being phonetically the same as "attack" is still kinda cool and kinda lame at the same time, in my opinion. Oh well- no worse than S.K.O.O.L., I guess. I daresay The Network, cheesy as some would say it is, still sounds way cooler than any of these. But perhaps I'm biased...)- but still- this opening scene is just crazy. On the one hand, it's cool that Frank and Joe find themselves in such a situation and have such a daring escape- though I don't think Frank and Joe would blow off breaking the guy's legs that lightly, even though it was a joke- but I know they were in a tough situation with little options. I don't know that many DVD pirate operations would choose a skydiving school as a front though- but not having been part of a DVD pirate operation, I guess I wouldn't know how they choose to operate.
        Anyway, thus far I've been able to deal with Frank and Joe jumping back and forth on the narration- it does offer an interesting perspective. But it's also kind of annoying at the same time. But two things that really stood out to me as signs of things to come- I didn't like that Brian Conrad was actually referred to as a jerk by the author. I get that they were trying to phrase the sentence as Joe would most likely actually say it- but I still don't like using constructions like, "The jerk sneered, 'Ha Ha, Hardys!" [not a direct quote, but you get my drift.] The author has definitively pegged Brian as a jerk and this is the frame of reference we will wind up using for the character, which prevents us from having much chance to give him a chance and see if he has any other redeeming qualities.
        The other thing that I really didn't like was the simple phrase that said, "Wings cursed." Now granted this phrase may well have been in some of the earlier Hardy Boys books that I don't recall- I know it's been used in moments of extreme duress in The Hardy Boys Casefiles [though I'm pretty sure we're talking literally 2 or 3 times at most. And yes- in some of those cases, it's even attributed to one of the Hardys. And to be clear- I don't like those references either.] But I don't like to see either the bad guys or certainly not The Hardy Boys swearing or cursing. At least no actual bad words were spelled out, but all I could think was that this was just a sign of things to come. And to be right there in the first chapter of the first book- wow.
         So, thus far, I think the chapter is a bit overaggrandized in an attempt to be as bombastic as possible and make the book overly action-packed [certainly not necessarily a bad thing] to get kids interested and excited, but I feel that this book and most likely the tone of the series overall tends to push things to the over-the-top line that makes it a bit hard to swallow. Of course, perhaps a younger kid would have a different perspective on this. It is true that authors today are competing with a lot more things for kids' attention. Of course, a book should still stand on good writing and not sensationalism. I'm not saying this book or series is doing that- but I do think it flirts with it at least a bit there anyway.
          By the way, the actual last minute daring escape thing was quite cool- but I do think it would have been more fitting of a scene toward the end of the book at the height of the action (warning: bad pun alert ;D) and with something a lot weightier (Like Brittney Spears- oops, I did it again. And yes- don't ask me why I know that pop culture reference- only because I'm a purveyor of lots of esoteric knowledge- but rest assured I don't listen to her music. anyways)- than a DVD pirate for the villian.
        Oh well- one chapter down. Hopefully the rest will be good too.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"

Offline tomswift2002

  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 7308
    • Trevor Thurlow Productions - Video Production and Transfers
Ah- that answers a question I was pondering in another thread. Is the Undercover Brothers series supposed to follow the Classic series (#1-190) and then lead to the Casefiles or perhaps do the Casefiles come first? Or do we just leave the Casefiles off in its separate universe? Oh well- that's a question for another thread.

The books seemed to at first, but then between books 5 and 20 it seemed like S&S just told he authors to reboot the series continuity with each book.
VHS, S-VHS, Super Betamax, Mini DV, MicroMV, Betacam SP, U-Matic SP - NTSC/PAL/SECAM.  All transferred to DVD! 
www.trevorthurlowproductions.ca

Offline P. Walker

  • Gunnery Sergeant
  • *
  • Posts: 63
  • I'm a Hardy Fan!
Are the UB books really worth reading? Im a fan of The HB Classics/Casefiles and havent botehred to buy any of the UB books.

Offline MacGyver

  • Troubleshooter
  • Secretary of Defense
  • *
  • Posts: 11358
  • The Hardy Boys catch the Gremlin of The Bangles...
Well, considering I'm still in the middle of reading the first book of the UB series (and my first book that I've read of the Undercover Brothers series)- I'm probably not the best to answer this. But I'd say it's worth giving most everything a try at least once. Plunge into Extreme Danger and see how you like it. If you can hang with a little bit different style and different characterizations, then you might enjoy this series. It almost seems like it should or could be considered an alternate Hardy Boys universe....
 As you can probably tell from my review of this book so far, I haven't been impressed with some things in this book, but there are some good things worth noting. So it's a balance and a call that everyone has to make for themselves. Like I said- the best I can tell you is to just give it a try and see.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but by Me."- Jesus
"You can do anything you want to do if you put your mind to it."- MacGyver in "Cease Fire"